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Voters want their constituency boundaries redrawn

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Whoever forms the next government will be under pressure from voters in Galway to redraw the constituency boundaries as a matter of urgency.

While a lot of the conversation nationally concerns water charges and government reform, the voters in Galway simply want their county back.

In Galway East, in particular, a large tract of the constituency is now gone in with Roscommon and for the voters in the likes of Ballinasloe, Ballygar, Glenamaddy and Dunmore, this is not a very favourable situation in their minds.

Many said that, apart from a couple of names on the ballot paper, they were not familiar with the vast majority of candidates who put their names forward.

Roscommon has become the bane of Galway voters for several decades. Back in the seventies and eighties part of the county was in Galway East when Tom Hussey from Glenamaddy was a TD.

Then it was decided that the county boundary would be preserved as the constituency was made into a four-seater back in 1997 and it remained as such until 2012 when 20,000 votes was put into a new Roscommon-dominated constituency.

The whole of Ballinasloe town is in the Roscommon-Galway constituency and yet the vast majority of those with an interest in politics were in New Inn watching the Galway East count almost two weeks ago.

And to add to their frustration, there was no candidate in the field from the Ballinasloe area. In fact the only Galway candidate in the constituency was independent Deputy Mick Fitzmaurice from Glinsk who was successfully returned.

But the vast majority of those from the Ballinasloe area told The Connacht Tribune that they wanted to be part of Galway East and not in Roscommon. They are already lobbying potential government TDs to have to boundaries revised.

Even for voters in Roscommon, it has been confusing. For many years they have been involved in a Roscommon-Longford constituency and then on the last occasion they had to get familiar with candidates in South Leitrim. Now they have a chunk of Galway thrown in with them.

Equally the vast majority of the 7,500 voters in South Mayo do not want to be part of Galway West and they too have expressed the view that the county boundaries should be restored when it comes to voting in a general election.

There was apathy among the voters in areas such as Ballinrobe, Kilmaine and Garrymore when they saw a ballot paper that contained 19 Galway candidates and just one from Mayo – John O’Mahony who failed to win a seat for Fine Gael.

CITY TRIBUNE

Council rows back on ‘reduced delays’ projections for Kirwan junction

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Motorists have described it as ‘a disaster’ and a former mayor has said the project gave very poor value for money, but Galway City Council have this week asked the public to be patient with the revamped Kirwan junction, close to the Menlo Park Hotel.

Since the four-arm signalled junction opened early last week, motorists have complained of traffic queues stretching back to the Quincentenary Bridge and Corrib Park.

And now the Council has rowed back on its consultants’ claims that the junction would increase capacity by 15% and reduce waiting times by 25%.

Former mayor and local taxi driver, Cllr Frank Fahy, told the Galway City Tribune that given the negative impact of the junction on traffic, the €5 million spent on the project represented ‘very poor value’ as regards taxpayers’ money.

“I will admit that the junction is now safer for pedestrians in that they can hit a button to give them a safe crossing, but since it opened there have some very serious traffic tailbacks,” said Cllr Fahy.

However, City Council Acting Director of Services for Transport, Uinsinn Finn, told the Galway City Tribune that the new junction needed time to ‘bed in’ with a familiarisation process.

“The main objectives of this project were to make far safer for pedestrians and cyclists to negotiate, as well as making it safer for motorists too, without impacting [negatively] on the traffic flow,” said Mr Finn.

He added that since it opened – and over the coming few weeks – data on all aspects of how the junction was functioning would be compiled which could involve changes to light sequencing, lanes and peak traffic flows.

One motorist who contacted this newspaper said that the daily “nightmare” journey from the Barna Road to the Headford Road during the morning peak traffic time had added up to 40 minutes to his journey time.

“The two lanes are regularly gridlocked from the junction, back the N6, over the Quincentenary Bridge and back to Corrib Park.

“In the mornings, it’s now easier to go down Taylor’s Hill and into town, past Eyre Square and up Bohermore to get down to the Headford Road.

Councillors were told by consultants in 2017 and again in 2018 – when they voted to proceed with the changeover to a junction – that average delays would be reduced by 25% and junction capacity would increase by 15%.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Man hospitalised following Eyre Square assault

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Gardaí have appealed to the public for information into an assault in Eyre Square last weekend which led to a young man being hospitalised.

The victim of the assault – a man in his early 20s from the city area – suffered a cut to his knee and may have had a substance sprayed towards his eyes.

Following the incident – that occurred close to the Eyre Square taxi rank shortly after midnight on Saturday night last – the victim was taken by ambulance to University Hospital Galway.

It is understood that the victim was released later that morning and has made a full recovery. This week, Gardaí are poring over CCTV footage in an effort to try and identify the perpetrators of the assault.

The assailants are understood to have fled on foot after the incident towards St Patrick’s Avenue on the east side of Eyre Square.

A Garda spokesperson has appealed for anyone who was in the vicinity of the taxi rank on Eyre Square between 12 midnight and 12.30am on the Sunday morning (Saturday night) of July 25 last, and who may have witnessed the incident to contact them.

(Photo: the assailants fled on foot towards St Patrick’s Avenue off Eyre Square)
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Council turns down controversial phone mast plan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune –  Galway City Council has refused an application by Eircom to erect a 12-metre telecoms mast in a housing estate in Knocknacarra.

The local authority turned down the company’s application for planning permission to install the structure in the heart of Drom Óir over concerns that it would create a visual obstruction in a residential area – and would have a detrimental impact on property prices.

Eircom had also sought retention to keep a concrete foundation for the mast in situ after it was forced to abandon works earlier this year, amid protests from residents in Drom Óir and Leitir Burca. This was also rejected.

City planners issued the company with a warning letter in April to cease works after contractors on site drew the ire of nearby residents, who accused Eircom of seeking to install the mast ‘by stealth’.

A total of 26 letters of objection were submitted to the Council from residents of the two estate.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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